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Understanding Jane (2001)

 -  Comedy  -  11 October 2001 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 236 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Two men (Kevin McKidd, John Simm) in London decide to meet women by answering a dating ad. They meet two women (Amelia Curtis, Louisa Milwood) who use the ads to scam men out of cash, gifts... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Louisa Milwood-Haigh ...
Popeye (as Louisa Milwood Haigh)
...
Maitre d'
Simon Bateso ...
Chris Bisson ...
...
Natasha Byrne ...
Stephen Hackett ...
...
Andrea Moss ...
Waitress
Dominic Knutton ...
Matt Lane ...
Dan Laufer ...
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Storyline

Two men (Kevin McKidd, John Simm) in London decide to meet women by answering a dating ad. They meet two women (Amelia Curtis, Louisa Milwood) who use the ads to scam men out of cash, gifts and food. One immediately sees through the women's ruse, but the other becomes infatuated with his date and continues to pursue her. She in turn tells her friend that she is just playing him for bigger plans. The film turns on whether she has actually fallen for him or if she continues to be a user. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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independent film | See All (1) »

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11 October 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ki érti Jane-t?  »

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Dallas: There's a boy. After the death of his mother, he lives alone with his father. He drowns his sorrows in the bottom of a whisky bottle. Every day, he goes to school and is taunted by the other kids about his alcoholic father and his dead mother. Every evening, he goes home and fantasises that his mother is alive. Remembers her dancing. Beautifully, gracefully. Wishes he could dance with her again. Every night, when his father passes out, he goes to the graveyard to be near her. He knows the other...
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I don't understand why...
7 December 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Understanding Jane is one of those films that wants to analyse relationships and depict realistic characters in reasonably plausible predicaments. It does so merely satisfactorily. The plot involves two male losers (both "losing" in their own unique way) calling up date adverts in the hope of finding someone special. They do this together and, before long, happen come upon two scheming girls. One of the girls is clearly more scheming than the other. Thus we embark on a series of mishaps and relative insights on how this foursome get on (or don't) with each other, made all the more difficult by Curtis' "Dallas" character. That's the plot. Does this work for 90 minutes? Yes and no.

My first quip with this film is ... people go to see a film to "watch" it, not listen to it. This film is so blatantly influenced by the narrative protege of Trainspotting and Human Traffic but can't quite achieve this because the budget is very limited. The film is made up with a series of vingettes involving the characters talking an and analysing anything from blowjobs to Star Wars (Nowadays, if you're dealing with a character-driven relationship film, you have to include why Return of the Jedi is better than Empire Strikes Back etc.) This soon wears out and becomes tiresome. This film would do just as well if it were a radio play - perhaps even better. Why better? Well, because - and to be honest (there's no denying this) - the film's image quality is very poor - it appears to have been shot on 16mm stock that's been resting in an oven for fifteen hours and the sound quality is reasonable - not that it means much, as the film is shot entirely on location and most of the background noises intrude on what otherwise might have been the perfect edit.

On the whole, Understanding Jane's bad qualities half ruin the brilliant ones: a first rate performance from Curtis as the bitchy Dallas is ruined by hammy dialogue and a sense of character that wouldn't mind any outcome. John Simm is horrible wasted - a pre-toxic excursion on his character in Human trafic, except slightly less funny, witty and interesting. Ultimately, I cared little for any of the characters in the film because A: the ones we care about are not only established almost instantly, but get what they want in the first 20 minutes, and B: the characters we're not supposed to like don't care anyway about what happens to them.

Ultimately, Understanding Jane is a wildly amibitious film that wants you to care about characters who don't care about themselves, made in a tiresome and uninteresting way, shot lousily by first time director Lindsay, from a cheesy melodramatic and extremely sporadically funny script by first time screenwriter Mummery. The only saving graces to be had are the performances. Understanding Jane is worth watching. But only just.

4.5/10


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